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Second-rower Joe Launchbury will lead Wasps during 2016-17 season

England lock Joe Launchbury has been appointed Wasps captain for the 2016-17 season.

The 35-times capped Launchbury replaces international team-mate James Haskell - who will miss most of the season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his big toe - and prop Matt Mullan who were co-captains last season.

Launchbury joined Wasps from Worthing as a 19-year-old in 2009 and is closing in on 100 appearances for the Aviva Premiership club.

"Joe is a natural leader around the place and I think he has grown with the responsibility of being a leader and an international over the last couple of seasons," Wasps director of rugby Dai Young told the official club website.

"He has already proven himself as a world-class player and I'm sure the captaincy will only help him grow again.

"Unfortunately, James picked up a nasty injury while playing for England which means he will miss a major chunk of Wasps' season.

"That in itself makes it difficult to do the job of captain, but we also want him to be a little bit selfish and focus on himself so he can concentrate all his energy on getting back to full fitness as soon as possible.

"Matt has been around the captaincy role for almost three years now and while it is a big honour, people don't see all the extra work that goes in behind the scenes and the off-field commitments that go with the captaincy role.

"From my point of view, I feel three years is probably the right amount of time before then passing the baton on and have someone else step up."

Launchbury, 25, said: "It's a massive honour to have been named captain and something I am very excited about.

"We have a squad packed full of talent so it's now important we hit the season running."


From Belfast Telegraph